Buy new tires?

I have a 2000 Toyota Camry LE. One of the tires (in rear) had several nails and was slowly flattening. I took the car to Sears Auto Service and was told that 3 tires should be changed (one flat one which cannot be repaired and the two front ones that are wearing out unevenly). I just had them change the flat tire into my spare one and came home. The spare tire has been repaired by plugging in the nail hole with some kind of rubber that looks like a chewed up gum. I got two opinions from friends and families. 1. Buy all 4 new tires while Costco has the $70 off sale, keeping one good tire as a spare. 2. The plugged in spare tire is as good as a new tire and can be used for a long time. So, replace only 2 front tires and save money and do the wheel alignment with the money saved. Is the plugged up tire really good enough to use for a long time, especially if I have to go on the freeway frequently.

Several nails?

Get the four new tires and use the good one as a spare. And while you’re at it, find out why the front tires are wearing unevenly. Has it even had an alignment?

The plugged tyre depends on where the damage was, the extent of the damage, and possibly the wear on the damaged tyre.

I personally don’t like plugged tyres, but some people have no problems. I guess I consider my life and uninjured body higher than a few dollars keeping good safe tyres on my car.

Yes, it had 3 nails and one of them was right on the edge of the tire, so it can’t be repaired. And I don’t remember if it had the wheel alignment. I was told to get it done after I get new tires.

The plugged hole is about 1 inch from the edge and the tire is in a fairly good shape. It is not worn out.

I’d go the 4 new route, plus making sure you fix whatever’s causing the uneven wear. Tires are your link to the road, and since you ‘have to go on the freeway frequently’ I’d want no concerns with worn/plugged tires.

I will go with your suggestion. Thank you very much. :slight_smile:

Is your spare a full size one or one of the donut ones?

I have used plugged tires for many years. Very rarely will the plug develop a leak and then the tire will need the old plug removed and a new plug installed. I have not had a blowout with a plugged tire.

Tire plugs are commonly available and have been so for many years. If they were a hazard to your safety, the NHTSA would be on them like stink on you know what. As it is, the NHTSA frowns only a little at tire plugs. There is nothing on tire plug packaging to warn against long term use.

Yes, I know that you can’t depend on the government to warn you against everything but tire plugs are a mature, effective product.

It is a full size. I am using this spare tire in the rear right wheel right now. I don’t have an extra tire in the trunk. Can I keep one of the two front tires (uneven wear) as a spare should I decide to replace only

The email was sent by accident before I finished the sentence. I meant to say if I can use the tire with uneven wear as a spare should I decide to replace only two front ones?

I didn’t plug up the tire. It was done at a tire shop and I don’t remember how long ago it was done. Are you saying that some people actually remove the plug and put in a new plug to extend the life of a tire?

No. What he is saying is that plugs do develop leaks and that when that has happened, he replaced the leaking plug with a new one.

But here’s where I disagree with Who Who. NHTSA is driven by data. Tires account for a small percentage of fatal accidents - and tires leaking account for a small percentage of that. NHTSA is not going to address a problem that is a tiny fraction when they have cars accelerating on their own!

But since we know that plugs tend to leak - and we know that a severe accident could result from a leaking tire - it’s best to avoid that risk. That’s why plugs are considered temporary repairs and every tire manufacturer recommends using a plug/patch combination.

Capri, I agree with your comment about NHTSA, and with the comment about the tire manufacturers’ recommendations, but not with the comment about plugs tending to leak. I’ve had countless plugs installed over the years, and have yet to have one leak. They should not be installed in sidewalls or the tread/sidewall interface, but properly installed in the tread area they’re fine. All drivers should be awaye of the condition of their tires anyway, and if one does leak it’ll be a slow leak, not a sudden blowout.

At some point, however, I think one is “pushing one’s luck”. The comment by the OP that he had “several nails” in one of his tires, combined with the rest of his post, was what made me think it might be better to simply get new tires.

Mountain Bike,

I have had plugs leak and so have lots of other folks. I don’t think this is our imagination. You should consider yourself lucky not to have had this problem.

But the real problem is that many folks don’t even know enough to check the inflation of their tires periodically, so they would never know they have a leaky plug.

And I agree that the OP needs new tires.